Texas Art Schools – Reviewing the Best Art Colleges in Texas

The expansive state of Texas enrolls 10,000 students in art school and boasts 13 schools accredited by the Council for Interior Design. Among its leading programs are offerings at the University of North Texas-College of Visual Arts and Design, Rice University, and Baylor University.

The University of Texas offers NSAD-accredited programs and has art departments in its nine campuses across the state including Austin, San Antonia and Arlington. Texas also boasts renowned museums including the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, McNay Art Museum and the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Austin Museum of Art.

The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas in Austin recently completed a new Visual Arts Center. Two of its faculty members were named Guggenheim Fellows in 2010. Noted graduate Marcia Gay Harden was the 2010 commencement speaker at University of Texas at Austin-a school that clearly values the arts.

Austin is one of the largest and most diverse art departments in the country. The Studio Art division offers seven areas of study: Ceramics, Metals, Printing and Drawing, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Transmedia, a major with an emphasis on experimental practices including working in such realms as sound, installation, web, interactive and hypertext. The school also offers a selective 3-year MFA in Studio Art program enrolling 30 students.

The College of Visual and Performing Arts School of Art (SoA) at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas offers NASAD-accredited degree programs in studio arts, art history, communication design and visual studies. The BFA in Studio Art focuses on the development of students’ personal artistic expression and technical skills as well imparting an understanding and appreciation of both artistic heritage and contemporary art. The school also offers Masters Degrees as well a doctoral program in Fine Arts focusing on Critical Studies and Artistic Practice.

Rice University, one of the nation’s premier research universities, boasts a commitment to undergraduate education and offers a Studio Art major in its Department of Visual and Dramatic Arts. Students are encouraged to explore courses in areas such as philosophy, anthropology and history. Students at Rice have access to the creative resources of the dynamic city of Houston Texas and visit galleries, studios and exhibitions in their junior year in preparation for a senior year that focuses on intensive studio work.

Baylor University, in Waco Texas, offers both a BFA and BA in Studio Arts. Baylor students can concentrate in Ceramics, Fabric Design, Painting and other fine arts. BA students are encouraged to take courses across the concentrations, and are required to enroll in a larger percentage of liberal arts coursework than students on a BFA degree track. Baylor also offers a BA in Architecture in cooperation with Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Students at Baylor complete discipline-specific exams, portfolios, exhibitions and research papers, depending on their degree track. Baylor houses the Martin Museum of Art, the Allbritton Art Institute for the study of nineteenth and twentieth century art and the Harding Black Ceramic collection and Archive dedicated to scholarship in the ceramic arts.

There are dozens of other colleges and universities across the state of Texas that offer degree programs in fine art, design and commercial art fields. Individuals interested in these fields can explore the range of options available to them in Texas and seek out a balanced program to help launch their career.

Martial Arts Book Review: Ending Violence Quickly by Marc “Animal” MacYoung

Being the author of several books on the martial arts and fighting, I am always looking for books of exceptional quality to add to my library. If I have a book in my library, it’s definitely worth owning. One such book is Marc “Animal” MacYoung’s, “Ending Violence Quickly.”

As I have said before, one of the great things that I absolutely love about Marc’s books is his no-holds barred direct approach to getting his point across. There is never any sugarcoating or politically correct terminology is his books. He simply tells it like it is, whether you like it or not.

Once again, Marc gives you a no-holds barred look at the reality of fighting and surviving on the street. This book is simply loaded with sound principles and easy to learn techniques for making the most of a bad situation. I find the information on the principles behind the techniques very useful, and it is usually a very good indicator of a high quality self-defense and/or martial arts book.

Marc starts off this book with a chapter devoted to the escalation of violence, and why it is generally not a good idea to do so. Although it tends to be a common occurrence in today’s society, the more preferred method should almost always be de-escalating the situation into a non-violent resolution, rather than escalating it.

Chapter two delves into the subject of awareness and triggers. A trigger being the point at which you have previously decided is the time when a specific course of action is to be taken. Similar to what some call a point of no return. This section also goes into the different types of attackers and some of the cues to look for that usually take place immediately prior to an attack. Marc brings up a very good point in this section where he tells you that you should never wait for the actual physical attack to strike, but for the intent of your attacker to strike.

The next chapter takes a look at the physiology and psychology of violence and also a very good technique which Marc calls an attitude interrupter. This is something that a psychiatrist would call, patter interruption. This is a technique which is used to momentarily take an individuals focus away from what they are doing and put it on something else. Marc gives a real good example of this using a naked lady.

Chapter four deals with an often neglected and misunderstood technique called footwork. Footwork is something that any good boxing instructor will tell you is the foundation of a good boxer. Applying proper footwork can get you out of the line of fire quickly, or it can also be used to put your entire body behind a blow. This is an outstanding section in an otherwise very good book.

“Counters and Blocks” is the next chapter and just like the title alludes to, deals with blocking and countering your opponents attack. However, Marc points out a very important strategic maneuver that is often overlooked by many martial artists and self-defense instructors alike. If you aren’t in your attackers’ line of attack, how can he hit you? In other words, avoiding the attack in the first place is preferable to blocking it.

Chapters six, seven, and eight deal with various techniques you can utilize in order to take your opponent to the ground while maintaining your standing position. They also discuss at length various sneaky tricks that you can use to take your opponents base of support out from underneath him. With the intended effect of having him lose his balance and eventually fall to the ground.

Chapter nine talks about what Marc refers to as slaving, which is when you use your opponents on weight and momentum against them. Exactly like what you would see in Judo and Aikido.

What follows next is a brief chapter on how to deal with various weapons that you are likely to encounter in a self-defense situation. Just like the rest of this book, the principles behind dealing with weapons are by far more important than the actual techniques themselves. I especially liked the last page in this section that showed what a potential attacker may look like as he is reaching for a weapon.

The last chapter deals with the basic instinct for survival of the species and dealing with situations in a professional manner. Both of these section in this last chapter are very educational and should be taken to heart, although the section on professionalism tends to be geared more for the bouncer than the average person, it is still very good knowledge to have and to apply.

Marc finishes this book with a great section on the effects of alcohol on a person as related to violence, and the four types of violence that you may encounter. This section is very well done (as is the rest of the book) and could actually be devoted to an entire volume, which in my opinion it should be. Of course my favorite section is the one devoted to “Murphy’s Law.”